Friday Night Rant: Moneyball?

Cam can make confetti angels, but he don't know nothing about snow angels. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

First, yes it's Monday, I started writing this Thursday but Verizon was extra good to cut my Internet exactly when the clock struck 12 on Friday.

Then I moved and haven't seen the Internet for 4 days, a new personal record. As a result:

Ohio game review will finish next week, maybe.

99 for 99 will get back up at some time next week. It will not be done before the season begins, so that will just keep happening till we hit #1.

Now on to the rant.: I read an article on why the SEC isn't that good. I agree with it on some grounds, I like regional football, and think regions should collide in Non-Conference games. I also hate the BCS championships as evidence to superiority, there is a difference between Florida at Ohio State in Miami and Florida at Ohio State in Cleveland. SEC fans ignore that fact, and throw insults at the North, it's cold who would want to watch football in January in the cold? NFL? CFL?

My main concern about conference superiority is it creates an atmosphere where compelling competition is not important. If you are a SEC team, you can play 3 low-level out-of-conference games all at home (BGSU, UL Lafayette, Jacksonville State) 1 mediocre regional rivalry game (at FSU) Maybe 3 good conference teams (South Carolina, LSU and UGA) 2 mediocre conference teams (Texas A&M & Missouri) and 3 bad conference teams (Vandy, Kentucky and Tennessee). If you come through that gauntlet, where 8 games are at home, you get the right to play the National Championship in Miami, where this SEC team, (that's Florida's schedule) would have a ridiculous home-field advantage.

What if Buffalo could do this, can we start the season at home against Stony Brook, Albany, and Morgan State before facing Syracuse? What if Syracuse played Cortland, Army and New Hampshire? The winner of the UB/Syracuse game would be 4-0 and ranked. If all those games counted toward bowls, we would only need 2-3 more wins in MAC play to get a bowl game, that would be nice!

My point is before we can talk about objective superiority we have to get rid of the creative scheduling. In short we need to demand the USC model for BCS schools. (and no not THAT USC model for paying players, the USC model of scheduling)

USC has 1 permanent rival: Notre Dame, since 2000, they have not played an FCS school, and they generally play return games. (They went to Hawaii last year, they host Hawaii this year, they hosted Syracuse last year, they go to Syracuse this year)

They have played big name teams: Kansas State, Penn State, Ohio State, Arkansas, Auburn Va Tech etc...

If teams were required to play the return game and no longer allowed to pay for just one game, (like our opener against UGA) I think it would have a extremely positive effect on the game. I see it going one of two ways:

1) Teams continue to schedule cupcakes, swallow the travel costs for wins. Big schools possibly demand return game are played at bigger venue.

2) BCS teams no longer schedule mid-majors.

1) Option 1 would mean less easy money for the athletic department, but more money in the community.

I'm going to Georgia in a few weeks, and when I go anywhere except Hawaii, SF and NYC the major perk is everything is less expensive than I'm used to. You should see me in Buffalo, 3 dollar beer? Shoot I'm buying for everyone!

So I looked at hotels for my crew traveling to Athens and expected a decent room for 100 dollars...how expensive could Athens be? I was right, hotels sell for about 100 dollars everyday except UGA game day, where hotels are about 300 a day and carry a 2 day minimum stay. Highway Robbery!

Well the rule takes effect and Georgia and their fans have to make the trek up to Buffalo in 2013, and they will because the SEC travels very well, the UB athletic department would lose out on the million dollars in guaranteed money, but the City of Buffalo would get thousands of out of towners in the city spending money. UB should make some money on ticket sales probably not a million dollars but a good amount. UB stadium too small? We can play the game in the county-owned Ralph Wilson Stadium, and sell 70,000 tickets. With the money flowing in to the city and county and not solely to the team, it might encourage community business owners and lawmakers to invest in UB football more. Local buy-in and investment is a much more sustainable method of financial competition than taking checks to lose games.

Outside of Buffalo, this will ensure teams play a balanced schedule, 6 home games, 6 road games. As a result, our determination of a champion will be truer, we wont just crown the team that has the best home field advantage.

Option 2: Teams follow the money, start playing real competition:

This would mean more BCS teams would play BCS teams, and Mid-Majors would play Mid Majors. In my head we'd probably keep an FCS game, maybe maintain an annual series with Pitt to keep travel costs down and then take on two teams randomly, keeping our recruiting pipelines open by playing in Texas and Florida, and some games against Army would be nice.

With Pitt as the toughest test on our schedule every year, we would give our team a fighting chance to win more games. In the last 12 years UB has won only 35 games, 2-29 against BCS teams during that time. If instead of playing BCS teams, they played Mid Majors and say they won 38% of those games, it would have given the Bulls an extra win every year. That is important as we would have had 3 bowl eligible seasons in a row under Turner Gill, and that could have helped us enhance our profile.

Outside of Buffalo, BCS teams would have to face a true gauntlet of teams to prove they are champions, not the "Floridian Gauntlet" that has led to 6 consecutive national championships for the SEC.

I am a proponent of Option 2, the physical toll of playing when you are outclassed is underrated. Morgan State is like a fun run 5k, and Georgia is like an Ironman triathlon. Try the fun run after the triathlon, and you won't have much fun, and there is no doubt in my mind that we could lose Morgan State because of injuries after Georgia. It's not fair to the fans who want to see our best team out there, it's not fair to the players who should be playing games they can win. It's very unfair that neither group gets a cut of that $975,000 UB gets for the game.

Option 1 is intriguing just because I can't imagine Buffalo and UB inundated by Southerners ready for some football. Even more intriguing is the thought of scheduling games with the SEC in November and watching the Southerners play in the cold and snow.

Which would you like to see? Do you like things the way they are? Have another suggestion? Rant with me in the comments.

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